Crisis Ministries CEO filed report, suspects employee embezzled more than $10,000 from homeless shelter

Crisis Ministries’ chief executive officer told Charleston police she suspects that one of her employees has embezzled more than $11,000 from the homeless shelter (pictured in 2008), according to an incident report.

Nita Birmingham

A former Crisis Ministries employee is accused of embezzling more than $11,000 from the downtown Charleston homeless shelter.

The employee is accused of depositing at least 10 checks intended for institutions that work with the ministry into a personal account over the last year, according to a statement from the ministry. The employee was suspended without pay Monday pending the outcome of the investigation, according to the statement.

“The last several years Crisis Ministries has worked ardently, with tremendous community support, to add to the core financial base to weather the storm of the recession and to respond to a larger need,” spokesperson Elizabeth Boineau said. “To learn that any part of those hard-earned funds from donors and other sources was compromised is beyond disappointing.”

The missing funds are not expected to compromise any services, she said.

The missing money was discovered Thursday when Wells Fargo’s fraud department contacted Crisis Ministries Chief Operating Officer Stacey Denaux. She filed a report with the Charleston Police Department Friday.

Police are investigating the allegations, and nobody had been charged as of Monday, according to a police spokesman.

The organization is contacting vendors who were supposed to get the checks to make sure none of them was shortchanged, Boineau said. The ministry is also reviewing procedures to make sure it doesn’t happen again, she said.

“It’s early in the investigation, internal and external, but the organization is working diligently to recoup the funds and to review all procedures,” she said.

Contact Natalie Caula at 937-5594.